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Sat 5 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Little trump has big plans

The Trump Organization is a well-oiled machine. The Gulf a well-oiled region. Should the GCC be getting used to the name Trump? Eric Trump speaks to Jamie Stewart on the future for the American company here.

The Trump Organization is a well-oiled machine. The Gulf a well-oiled region. Should the GCC be getting used to the name Trump? Eric Trump speaks to Jamie Stewart on the future for the American company here.

Eric Trump sits at his desk in the heights of Trump Tower, on New York City's famous Fifth Avenue, before a die that bears on one side a very familiar catchphrase: "You're fired!"

The line, immortalised in the senior Trump's popular show The Apprentice, sits alongside similarly motivating words: "Never give up," "the buck starts here", and "think big, live long." Within Trump Tower, this is the language they speak.

At 24, Eric Trump is Donald Trump's second son, and executive vice-president of the Trump Organization. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2006 with a major in finance and management, and a minor in psychology.

Like his father, he talks a good game, and certainly has much to say regarding the firm's future development. Asked where next for the firm, Trump says:

"There's not a corner of the earth that is safe from us. There's so much development potential. Our main push internationally has been the last six or seven years. Who knows what's next - maybe the moon!"

When it comes to the Trump family, only a fool would assume Trump the younger is joking. But the moon aside, America's best known property developers have their sights set firmly on a location a little closer to home - the Middle East.

It would appear the Trump International Hotel and Tower could represent the crest of a rather large wave.

"The possibilities in the Gulf are endless given the vision of several people. Many of the countries have done an amazing job," says Trump. "If you look at Abu Dhabi, I think that could be a possibility and Qatar is certainly an amazing place.

There are many places with potential over there. There's such a demand for high end product."

High end product is the Trump specialty, and with the most famous surname in real estate adorning your office door, you have the freedom to cherry pick your deals. Donald himself was more than happy to expand. Asked whether his firm has plans for further expansion in the Middle East, he says:"We're looking at certain things, but I love doing one development, making it really great, and then doing the next one. We are going to be looking at other things and ideally with Nakheel."

As reported in Construction Week last week, Eric Trump has expressed an interest in furthering his firm's partnership with Nakheel to build the world's tallest tower in Dubai, stating "the tallest tower in the world?

That's what we do," adding he "absolutely would" be interested in building taller than the current record-holder, the Burj Dubai.

So it's big business as usual inside Trump Tower, with the firm lining up for a major assault on the Middle East's substantial capital.

A week after the launch of the Trump Tower Dubai, the firm launched the sales of penthouses in its new luxury Hotel in Manhattan, New York, exclusively within the UAE. Coincidence? Certainly not.

You get the sense that somewhere in the depths of Trump Tower there lies a Middle East master plan, and that the market had better get used to the Trump Organization flexing its muscle.

As Eric explains, real estate runs in the family. "We all grew up building Lego buildings on the floor of my father's office, listening to him negotiate deals, talking to lawyers. From a young age we were exposed to this business. I call it Trump genetics."

Eric Trump also has the budget of America's best known real estate family at his disposal. Sitting comfortably in the mould of his father, he has a stack of potential property deals to his right, and a pair of Lennox Lewis' signed boxing gloves to his left - a fearsome combination if ever there was one.

The Middle East should brace itself.

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